Music News

Published on August 13th, 2018 | by Amber Healy

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Seattle’s Showbox in danger of being demolished —UPDATED

Great news, everyone!

On Monday night, the Seattle City Council voted to extend the historic district protections near Pike Place Market to include the Showbox. This is a great step forward toward saving the building from being torn down and turned into luxury apartments, but it’s only a temporary protection, lasting just 10 months.

The unanimous vote buys more time to put through official paperwork that could officially and for all time save the theatre.

The Showbox doesn’t have official historical landmark status yet, but that’s in the works. In the interim, however, any and all changes proposed to the building would have to be approved by the Pike Place Market Historical Commission and its processes and procedures.

This is a big win, but, again, a temporary one. The next meeting with the developer is set for October. Stay tuned…

(Original article below)

If you were part of a band in Seattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was a really big deal when you booked your first gig at the Showbox.

Along with the nearly 100-year-old Paramount, The Showbox is a legend among grunge enthusiasts, music fans and people whose sounds filled the 79-year-old, 1,100-seat theatre.

And it’s in danger of being wiped from existence.

A Vancouver-based developer, Onni Group, wants to tear down the Showbox and replace it with (gah) a 44-story condo and apartment building.

Some of Seattle’s finest, and the new generations following in their footsteps, are doing their best to save it, mounting an incredible effort and a fantastic noise to banish the thought of losing the theatre.

“This place (has) musically favored what Seattle IS at its core. Progress is great and all, but not at the cost of the soul of the city,” says Duff McKagan of Guns ‘n’ Roses.

(Yes, there’s an influx of people moving into Seattle and they need a place to live, as do the rising number of homeless at the heart of Pearl Jam’s recent pair of sold-out shows that brought some 100,000 people to the city and helped raise more than $11.5 million. There’s housing issue and part of that is due to sky-high rents, but this is not about that. At least not today. The apartments in this building would be luxury units.)

There’s the obligatory Change.org petition, started by Jay Middleton, who calls the proposed destruction of the theatre “tragic and heartbreaking to every single musician and concertgoer in Seattle. The Showbox at the Market has been active as a music hall since 1939 and has legends like Duke Ellington to grunge heroes Pearl Jam. Let’s make this venue a historical landmark to preserve Seattle’s rich culture of music and various arts that have graced this venue and keep it going.”

As of Sunday night, Aug. 12, more than 92,700 people have signed on.

On Aug. 10, some 150 musicians signed an open letter, written by Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Duff McKagan, calling on the city to come to its senses and save the theatre.

The city council will have an initial vote on a proposal to extend the historic district that includes and protects the iconic Pike Place Market to also incorporate and safeguard the Showbox on Monday night.

Read more.

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About the Author

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.


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One Response to Seattle’s Showbox in danger of being demolished —UPDATED

  1. Eddie says:

    Well nothing is safe anymore after CBGBs disappeared

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